According to this CNET News.com article, HP's labs in Bristol, England, want to record your daily life with a new photography system. They set up a pretty ambitious goal.
Casual capture is HP's term for a method of taking snapshots that involves a minimum of effort on the part of the photographer. Ideally, the consumer could don an always-on, wearable camera, visit an event such as a party, and afterwards find that the camera had automatically selected and cropped the most memorable images.
They soon realized that this was impossible to do, so they scaled back the project.
For now, the method involves a device that would continuously record images; and when something memorable happens, the user would make an indication of some kind, by saying a word or pressing a button. The camera technology would then zoom in and, using complex pattern-recognition technology, select what appeared to be the best images, and appropriately adjust and crop them.
"You say, 'Something has happened, I'd like to remember that,'" said Phil Cheatle of HP Labs' digital media department. "It allows you to take part in the event instead of hiding behind the technology. The challenge is selecting what's interesting automatically."
One algorithm, for example, attempts to locate the center of interest in a shot by identifying similar visual elements that are grouped together, then zooms in on that part of the picture.
And how far are we from real products?
The research hardware uses a small mounted camera attached by a cable to a bulky storage device, but researchers have also demonstrated a camera mounted inside a pair of glasses. The hardware currently captures 5 frames per second into a buffer of 25 frames, though researchers said this could easily be increased.
Researchers didn't give a date for availability for these cameras, but considering that such a product will gretly increase the storage needed for these devices, I bet we'll see them in a very near future.
The article also discusses other HP's labs projects, better e-books and a multichannel XML publishing model.
Source: By Matthew Broersma, CNET News.com, May 23, 2003
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